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Ill Fares The Land

average rating is 5 out of 5


Jason Knight


Posted on:

Jun 10, 2023

Film Reviews
Ill Fares The Land
Directed by:
Patrick Ireland
Written by:
Patrick Ireland
Noah Silverstone, Ruaridh Aldington, Smilla Erlandson, Thomas Devlin

While enduring the problems surrounding his life, a young English boy encounters a mermaid.


Yes, there is a mermaid, however this is not a happy jolly story in the likes of The Little Mermaid or Splash. It is a mostly harsh viewing that explores distressing issues.


The story focuses on two brothers living in a seaside town in South East England. George (Silverstone) is a quiet and sad boy, who lives with his older brother Trey (Aldington) and his abusive father. One day, George discovers a mermaid (Erlandson) washed up on a beach and does not know what to do. The two siblings are involved with a group of Far-Right Nationalists and as Trey gets in deeper, George is torn apart by the ruthlessness of it all.


This is truly a hard tale that concentrates primarily on George's situation, that being a child who is forced to deal with some of life's harshest issues, including the loss of his mother, a violent father and people's hostility towards foreigners. The occurrence of migrants plays an important role here, as it is what the extreme group opposes and George is deeply affected by the rough way migrants are being treated, which is being unwanted. Although Trey supports his brother, George struggles to find solace due to all the negativity that surrounds him and he is pushed further and further into desperation.


The acting is strong and Silverstone delivers a heartbreaking performance. George is a lonely boy, an outsider who is dealing with the loss of his mother and has not spoken since her passing two years ago. He has mermaid statues in his room and has dreams of being underwater, probably drowning, drowning by all the sadness he is feeling. Trey is a tough character and he appears to be the only person his brother has for a shoulder to cry on. Stewy (Devlin) is the leader of the extreme group and his character seems to represent the aggression that Britain shows towards migrants. As for the mermaid, it is not clear if she is real or just George's imagination as the two of them do not exchange words and just stare at each other and she is never found by anyone else. The mermaid appears to represent lost hope, she appears to represent the migrants, people who arrive to a place where they are not welcome.


Ireland directs splendidly, creating wonderful establishing shots of the ocean and the beach, all of which look even better thanks to Stephen Roach's cinematography. Editor Michael Pentney is quite creative with the montages and huge commendations go to Magdalena Maria Herfurtner for the dramatic music that includes piano melodies.


This short is a heavy story that explores serious topics including xenophobia, inner struggles, loss, domestic violence and mental health. However, it also looks into the importance of support and brotherly love. Scenes of confrontaion, sadness and despair make this a generally unpleasant viewing, however, as painful as it is, it is also a beautiful film that offers hope.

About the Film Critic
Jason Knight
Jason Knight
Short Film
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